iRobot Roomba 960 Review
The iRobot Roomba 960 isn’t cheap, but you get value for all your money’s worth. It delivers better navigation than any other robot vacuums that use sensors alone, and the fact that it isn’t slowed by obstacles or attempts to climb over them counts for a lot.
- Easily navigates obstacles and different floor types
- Supports Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice prompts
- Wi-Fi support for seamless interaction
- Manual navigation isn’t supported
If you’re in the market for a new robot vacuum, you must have come across the popular brand, iRobot Roomba. Roomba is known for its range of robot vacuums, spread across small-medium homes and offices.
The iRobot Roomba 960 $549.00 at Amazon is one of the company’s upper-tiered offerings, with features like Wi-Fi connectivity, camera navigation, voice control, and a smartphone app that pushes detailed cleaning reports. More importantly, it gets a three-stage cleaning system that delivers excellent results on all tasks you throw its way.
Almost all of Roomba’s robot vacs have maintained the same round shape that we first saw in the first-generation vacuum. While at it, there are other Roomba models that have different features and specs altogether. The Roomba 960 is a perfect pick for any room and won’t be an eyesore while resting in a corner. It measures 13.8-by-3.6 inches and weighs 8.5 pounds, making it in the small-and-lighter side of modern vacuums.
On the top, there is a large “clean” button, sandwiched between the spot cleaning and home buttons. You can use these buttons to manually control the Roomba, but as you’ll understand in a bit, there are benefits to using the vacuum’s hands-free options. There is a camera embedded on the front flank for easy navigation alongside a dust bin in the back.
On the bottom, there is a pair of roller brushes that do all the dirty work. The brushes work together to lift and loosen anything on your floor or carpet, from tiny particles to large debris that are sucked in. Additionally, there is a side brush that –when activated– sweeps along walls, baseboards, and furniture legs.
Sensors and Wi-Fi
For easy navigation and safe operation, the Roomba 960 has several sensors on its body that help identify high concentrations of dirt that need more attention to clean, and a couple of wheels to propel it across the room terrain.
Wi-Fi connectivity is yet another interesting feature, as it allows you to control the Roomba 960 with the iRobot Home app (for iOS and Android). Out of the box, you’ll have to fits charge the vacuum in its docking station – you’ll needs about three hours connected to the mains. Afterwards, you’ll simply follow the prompts in the companion app to connect to your home network.
Using the iRobot Roomba 960
There are a few ways to initiate cleaning on the Roomba 960: You can press the “Clean” button on the top of the vacuum, use the virtual version in the companion app, or use Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant commands.
If you’ve been wondering where the Roomba 960 separates itself from other Roomba models, it all gets down to the ability to select from three cleaning-pass settings via the app:
- One-cleaning pass: With this mode, the 960 makes a single pass over the entire are
- Two-cleaning pass: Here the Roomba 960 will do a double clean in the selected area; if you have pets in your home its is one you should use
- Automatic: With this mode activated, the Roomba 960 autonomously decides how many passes to make, depending on the room size. In a small room, it will make two or more passes, while a larger room will get a single pass.
To that, there’s an “edge clean” feature that you can easily adjust to have the robot vacuum clean along walls and furniture legs, as it cleans open areas.
No matter the cleaning mode you choose, the Roomba 960 remains to be a reliable vac that can clean an area of even 400 square feet covered in low-pile carpets, hardwood flooring and linoleum which is typical of most homes.
Roomba 960 Navigation
Interestingly, you won’t have to move your furniture or toys and kids’ play items as the Roomba moves across the floor until it encounters an obstacle, then it pauses to think and identify the best route to move around it. It is intelligent enough to avoid collisions, but you’re safe moving obstacles from the area to be cleaned except for furniture that it can easily crawl under.
You won’t see it bump into an object, neither will it attempt to roll over any object including a pen on the floor. Instead, it will “see” and determine the best way to clean around it. Cleaning a mid-size home takes anything between 45- to 60 minutes, depending on how dirty your floor is.
You’ll be surprised at how easy it pulls up pet hair, sucking in food crumbs, cat litter, food particles and tiny bits of paper on the floor, some that aren’t even as visible. I was particularly impressed by how best it works on wood and linoleum, a dark area for even stand-alone vacuum cleaners.
All the cleaning data is logged in the iRobot Home app, including the total area cleaned, as well as the individual cleaning schedules – date, time, and duration. If you dig deeper, you’re able to get a map for the area cleaned, with additional details including the number of times the Roomba 960 detected dirt.
Unlike the previous Roomba offerings, the 960 doesn’t allow you to direct it manually. You can schedule up to seven days worth of cleaning, but its good if you monitor it daily as a maintenance measure.
The Bottom Line
If you look around, there are cheap vacuum cleaners. The iRobot Roomba 960 isn’t cheap, but you get value for all your money’s worth. It delivers better navigation than any other robot vacuums that use sensors alone, and the fact that it isn’t slowed by obstacles or attempts to climb over them counts for a lot.
Also, it never attempts to transition from one floor to another, all this saves valuable battery power for scheduled cleanings. Most importantly, it leaves your floors sparkling clean.
Beyond that, the voice assisted activation and detailed reports are just cosmetic. If all these features don’t justify you shelling $549.00 at Amazon for the Roomba 960, check out the Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 15C that shelves many of these advanced features –saves you a few hundred dollars – without sacrificing the cleaning quality.